Monday, December 30, 2019

Episode 505 (12-30-19): Eyes on the Water as the 2020s Arise

Click to listen to episode (4:29)

Sections below are the following:
Transcript of Audio
Audio Notes and Acknowledgments
Related Water Radio Episodes
For Virginia Teachers (Relevant SOLs, etc.).

Unless otherwise noted, all Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 12-27-19.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of December 30, 2019.

MUSIC – ~7 sec – instrumental

This week, a traditional tune opens our annual episode marking the start of the New Year. Have a listen for about 25 more seconds.

MUSIC - ~26 sec – instrumental

You’ve been listening to part of “Midnight on the Water,” performed here by Timothy Seaman of Williamsburg, Va.  As midnight approaches on December 31, waters all over the world will be the scenes for celebrations of the arrival of a new year and a new decade.  Just within Virginia, water-focused New Year’s observances will range from Potomac River cruises out of Alexandria, to a party in the Waterside District of Norfolk, to a sunrise wade-in at the New River in Giles County.

Water’s an apt place to start the new year, because that versatile, life-sustaining substance will be part of many events and issues to come this year, as it is every year.  Here are a few safe bets on how water will be part of Virginia’s 2020 story.

Water resources will be affected by dozens of bills and the state budget under consideration by the Virginia General Assembly.

Groundwater levels and use, especially in eastern Virginia, will get attention from various stakeholders.

Sea level rise will be a factor in the environment and economics of coastal areas.

Infrastructure for drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater will require significant planning, installation, maintenance, and money.

Water will be a factor in debates, decisions, and lawsuits over energy production and use.

And Virginians will enjoy activities in, on, and around water.

Besides being central in many predictable developments, water in Virginia will probably be part of some unpredictable challenges, too.  As examples, tropical-storm flooding, a widespread drought, or a significant toxic spill could all propel water to the top of the agenda for citizens and elected officials.

Whatever mix of predictable or unpredictable things happens in 2020, the year as a whole will almost certainly be, in some ways, unique.   In that spirit, we close with another traditional tune, whose title is a word for something unmatched or unequaled.  Here’s part of “Nonesuch,” performed by No Strings Attached.  Happy New Year, and I hope that in 12 months we can say there was none such a year so good for water as 2020.

MUSIC - ~21 sec - instrumental


Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  For more Virginia water sounds, music, or information, visit us online at, or call the Water Center at (540) 231-5624.  Thanks to Ben Cosgrove for his version of “Shenandoah” to open and close the show.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


“Midnight on the Water,” a tune attributed to early 20th-Century Texas fiddler Lucas Thomasson, was recorded for Virginia Water Radio by Timothy Seaman of Williamsburg, Va., on August 9, 2017.  This music was also used in Episode 381, 8-14-17.  For more information on the tune, please see Andrew Kuntz and Valerio Pelliccioni, “The Traditional Tune Archive/Midnight on the Water,” online at and  More information on Timothy Seaman is available online at

“Nonesuch” is an English dance tune first published in 1651.  For more information on the tune, please see Andrew Kuntz and Valerio Pelliccioni, “The Traditional Tune Archive/Nonesuch,” online at and  The “Nonesuch” version heard in this episode is by No Strings Attached, from the 1999 album “In the Vinyl Tradition – Volume I,” used with permission.  More information about No Strings Attached—a long-time Blacksburg- and Roanoke-based band which is no longer performing—is available online at  Another version of “Nonesuch,” performed by Timothy Seaman, was featured in Virginia Water Radio Episode 458, 2-4-19

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (2 min./22 sec.) of the “Shenandoah” arrangement/performance by Ben Cosgrove that opens and closes this episode.  More information about Mr. Cosgrove is available online at


Sunset over the Virginia Tech Duck Pond in Blacksburg, December 31, 2019, 5 p.m. EST.

New River as viewed from Big Falls Road in Giles County, Va., January 1, 2020, 8:25 a.m. EST.


Used for Audio, “New Year Traditions Around the World,” online at

City of Norfolk [Va.] Waterside District, “NYE Live! Norfolk,” 12/3/19, online at

Jeremy Cox, Flood of volunteers measures Norfolk’s increasing tides; “Catch the King” data from citizens is helping scientists improve flood forecasts amid rising seas, Bay Journal, 12/2/19.

Crowne Plaza Hampton-Marina, Hampton, Va., “New Year’s Eve Masquerade Party,” online at

Jennifer Ortiz, Arlington water main break causes commute chaos, closes schools; boil advisory issued, WTOP – Chevy Chase, Md., 11/8/19.

Potomac Riverboat Company, “New Year’s Eve Fireworks Cruise,” online at

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “EPA Approves Virginia Plan to Improve Water Quality,” 10/2/19 News Release, online at  This describes funding for Clean Water State Revolving Fund projects (wastewater projects).

Virginia General Assembly, online at  The 2020 session convenes on January 8.

Virginia Governor’s Office, “Governor Northam Announces Country’s Strongest Flood Protections for State-Owned Property; New executive order creates Virginia Flood Risk Management Standard to guard against climate change impacts,” 11/15/19 News Release, online at

Virginia Legislative Information System, meeting notice for 3rd Annual Groundwater Stakeholder Forum for the Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Area and Eastern Shore Groundwater Management Area (ESGMA), November 15, 2019, in Newport News, online at

Virginia Resources Authority, “Events/2020 Infrastructure Financing Conference, December 7-9, 2020,” online at

Sam Wall, Pipeline protesters push past Christmas, Roanoke Times, 12/25/19.  This article regards the Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline currently under construction, with ongoing opposition, in western Virginia.

For More Information on New Year’s Traditions Connected to Water

Bookers International, “New Year’s Traditions in Rio, Brazil,” online at

City of Sydney, Australia, New Year's Eve Web site, “Boating,” online at

Cuban Christmas Web site, “Traditional Cuban New Year’s Guide,” online at

Den Haag Marketing, “New Year’s Dive,” online at

Downtown Long Beach [Calif.] Alliance, “New Year’s Eve at the Waterfront,” 12/31/18, online at

Hindu New Year, online at

Lake Eire Shores and Islands, “New Year’s Eve Walleye Drop,” online at

Deena Prichep, “As the Lead Cools, Some See Their New Year Take Shape,” NPR, 12/27/13, online at

Sea Mist Oceanfront, Myrtle Beach, S.C., “New Year’s Eve Celebration,” online at

Sputnik International, “Water Gods and Mango Leaves: India Celebrates Hindu New Year,” 4/8/16, online at

Fred Tasker, “How do you ring in New Year’s?  Perhaps it involves a door, a water bucket and grapes,” Miami Herald, 12/27/16, online at

Tourism of Cambodia, “Must-visit New Year Water Festivals in Asia,” 10/31/16, online at

Maria G. Valdez, “New Year’s Traditions: 8 Latin Customs to Ring in 2018,” Latin Times, 12/24/17, online at

Virginia Tourism Corporation/Virginia is for Lovers, “New Year’s Eve—Pony Island [Chincoteague, Va.] Horseshoe Drop & Costume Promenade,” online at

Water’s Edge Resort and Spa, Westbrook, Conn., “Water’s Edge Rockin’ Eve—The Shoreline’s Premier New Year’s Party, 12/31/18, online at


All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (  See particularly the “Overall Importance of Water” subject category.

Following are links to previous New Year’s episodes.

For 2019 - Episode 453, 12-31-18 – Water and the New Year of 2019 (featuring “Renewal” written and performed in spring 2017 by students at World Community Education Center in Bedford, Va., who were accompanied by members of the Blacksburg, Va.-based group Sweet Chalybeate).
For 2018 – Episode 401, 1-1-18 – Diving into 2018 with “Driving Rain” by Chamomile and Whiskey.
For 2017 – Episode 349, 1-2-17 – Water for a World of New Years, Featuring “New Year’s Water” by Torrin Hallett.
For 2016 – Episode 296, 12-28-15 – Setting a Course for 2016 with “On a Ship” by Kat Mills.
For 2015 – none.
For 2014 – Episode 195, 1-9-14 – Wading into the New Year, the New River, and Water Thermodynamics.
For 2013 – Episode 142, 12-31-12 – Encore of John McCutcheon’s “Water from Another Time.”


The episode—the audio, extra information, or sources—may help with the following Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs).

2013 Music SOLs

SOLs at various grade levels that call for “examining the relationship of music to the other fine arts and other fields of knowledge.”

2010 Science SOLs

Grades K-6 Earth Patterns, Cycles, and Change Theme
3.9 – Water cycle, including sources of water, energy driving water cycle, water essential for living things, and water limitations and conservation.

Grades K-6 Earth Resources Theme
4.9 – Virginia natural resources, including watersheds, water resources, and organisms.
6.9 – public policy decisions related to the environment (including resource management and conservation, land use decisions, hazard mitigation, and cost/benefit assessments).

Grades K-6 Living Systems Theme
6.7 – natural processes and human interactions that affect watershed systems; Virginia watersheds, water bodies, and wetlands; health and safety issues; and water monitoring.

Life Science Course
LS.11 – relationships between ecosystem dynamics and human activity.

Earth Science Course
ES.8 – influences by geologic processes and the activities of humans on freshwater resources, including identification of groundwater and major watershed systems in Virginia, “with reference to the hydrologic cycle.”
ES.10 – ocean processes, interactions, and policies affecting coastal zones, including Chesapeake Bay.

2015 Social Studies SOLs

Grades K-3 Economics Theme
2.8 – natural, human, and capital resources.
3.8 – understanding of cultures and of how natural, human, and capital resources are used for goods and services.

Virginia Studies Course
VS.10 – knowledge of government, geography, and economics in present-day Virginia.

Civics and Economics Course
CE.6 – government at the national level.
CE.7 – government at the state level.
CE.8 – government at the local level.
CE.10 – public policy at local, state, and national levels.

World Geography Course
WG.2 – how selected physical and ecological processes shape the Earth’s surface, including climate, weather, and how humans influence their environment and are influenced by it.

Government Course
GOVT.7 – national government organization and powers.
GOVT.8 – state and local government organization and powers.
GOVT.9 – public policy process at local, state, and national levels.
GOVT.15 – role of government in Va. and U.S. economies, including examining environmental issues and property rights.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at

Following are links to Water Radio episodes (various topics) designed especially for certain K-12 grade levels.

Episode 250, 1-26-15 – on boiling, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 255, 3-2-15 – on density, for 5th and 6th grade.
Episode 282, 9-21-15 – on living vs. non-living, for kindergarten.
Episode 309, 3-28-16 – on temperature regulation in animals, for kindergarten through 12th grade.
Episode 333, 9-12-16 – on dissolved gases, especially dissolved oxygen in aquatic habitats, for 5th grade.
Episode 403, 1-15-18 – on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 404, 1-22-18 – on ice on ponds and lakes, for 4th through 8th grade.
Episode 406, 2-5-18 – on ice on rivers, for middle school.
Episode 407, 2-12-18 – on snow chemistry and physics, for high school.
Episode 483, 7-29-19 – on buoyancy and drag, for middle school and high school.